theater thursday: doctor strange

Maratheater thursday0 Comments

If you’ve never ventured over to see just what Ryan Hill has to say about, well…anything on his blog, then you are severely missing out. He interviews demons. He hosts the Authordome. And so much more! Today he’s stepping away from his usual territory on his blog to step into ours and tell us just what he thought of Doctor Strange.

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After 13 movies and milking their most popular characters – at least the ones they have rights to – Marvel has finally been forced to get creative with their film slate. It started with Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man, and the trend continues with film No. 14 from Marvel, Doctor Strange.

Benedict Cumberbatch plays the title character, an egotistical neurosurgeon whose life is left in ruin after a car wreck renders his hands useless. Seeking a miracle cure, Strange meets the mysterious Ancient One (Tilda Swinton), setting the doctor on the course to becoming a powerful sorcerer.  

With its Easter egg in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, everyone knew a Doctor Strange film would become reality. Honestly, it’s about time Marvel branched out into new territory. With Iron Man appearing in seven films to date, Captain America five and Thor five, the studio badly needed to introduce some new blood.

Doctor Strange may be part of Marvel’s new crop of superhero films, but this is still Marvel we’re talking about. Things are only going to be so fresh and daring. The villains, apart from Loki, are usually bland. The third acts are always a cornucopia of CGI that makes them indecipherable from one film to the other. Even those drawbacks don’t matter to Marvel. Even their lesser films – looking at you, Thor: The Dark World – make a bajillion dollars because they follow the Marvel template. Doctor Strange is no different, though the cast, including Cumberbatch, Swinton, Mads Mikkelson, Rachel McAdams and Chiwetel Ejiofor, is one of the most talented assembled – get it? ASSEMBLED? – for a Marvel film.

At its core, the film is a typical superhero origin story. A character is set on the path to becoming a hero after a tragedy, learns to harness their power, then goes up against the big bad, who more often than not defeated the hero earlier in the film. Doctor Strange is no different, with the title character fighting a former pupil of the Ancient One’s, Kecilius (Mikkelson). If you’ve seen one superhero origin story you’ve seen them all, but what makes Doctor Strange one of the better stories is the visuals. Those trippy, trippy visuals.

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Credit to director Scott Derrickson for refusing to use any guns in Doctor Strange. There aren’t really any explosions, either. And that third act CGI lovefest? It’s so much fun in an Inception kind of way, that it’s one of the better climaxes Marvel has ever put on screen.

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